Lead Me Home – Shannon O’Brien

Rating: 4 out of 5.
3.75 stars. This is a very sweet romance set in a College environment.

Rose has worked at Jones University ever since she graduated. She’s the cafe manager, enjoying her role, especially working with the students in her employment, but perhaps missing something she can never quite manage to put her finger on.

Allison is a new professor to the University, chairing a new department – landscape studies. She needs to convince studies to major in her area whilst dealing with moving to a new area and being a department chair for the first time.

They hit it off quickly through their interactions at the cafe and the main narrative of the storyline is them getting to know each other and their friendship blossoming into a relationship. There are a few twists and turns along the way that keep things interesting and I really liked the two of them together.

I enjoyed the descriptions of landscape studies and its relevance to things in life that I definitely hadn’t ever considered before.

The humour added to the narrative through the students and the situations at the Cafe added some enjoyment to the book for me, and I appreciated the diversity of the students, even with it being a women’s college.

I hadn’t read O’Brien before but I’m definitely inclined to read her other book set in the same universe as this one. If you’re a contemporary romance fan you should enjoy this one. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel but is an enjoyable way to pass the time.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Closeness – Y.L. Wigman

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
3.25 stars. This book is a little bit different. I found it to be an interesting read but I probably wouldn’t revisit it. If you like a mix of contemporary and historical romance you’ll definitely enjoy this one.

Set in Australia Duscha inherits a home from her estranged father unexpectedly. She’s mourning the death of her partner and the house gives her the opportunity to go back to Canberra. The house is old and needs a lot of work, which inspires her to hire a gardener.

Honor owns her own gardening/landscaping company. Her partner Merrin is the firms accountant after Honor gives her the responsibility when Merrin experiences health difficulties. Honor is called to Duscha’s to give a quote for the gardening work, when they realise they have a connection from their pasts neither expected to encounter again.

The narrative is interspersed with historical information as to how Duscha came to inherit the house. Some of this is done through her discoveries, others are done through historical flashbacks. Whilst I enjoyed the short stories that were told, I found it jarring at times to be pulled from one timeline to another. There’s also a subterfuge plot line for Honor.

I appreciated how their discovering each other again as contractor/contractee and then friends is built into the narrative. It does provide a little bit of angst, but I’m happy to say there’s no crazy conflict and the majority of the angst in the book is provided by their feelings about their situation and the things going on around them.

I liked the relationship Honor had with her father, which grew on me after initially feeling quite differently differently about it, and Duscha’s relationship with her mother. The couple of friendships interspersed in the storyline also helped with understanding both characters.

There were a couple of small bits that weren’t revisited to the full extent I would have liked but I can understand why they perhaps won’t in the overall narrative. However there was something about the book that left me with a sense of it being unfinished. It’s possible it’s because it crams in a lot in a relatively short word count.

All in all I think this book has elements people will enjoy, with a good narrative, interesting setting and elements of mystery, paranormal, romance and family conflict.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.